Cognitive reserve is associated with altered clinical expression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

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Objective: Long-term life experiences, such as education, occupational attainment, leisure activities, and bilingualism, have been considered proxies of cognitive reserve (CR). In neurodegenerative disease, CR is considered as a modulator of a more favorable cognitive trajectory and motor functions. Our study investigated the role of CR on cognitive and motor involvement in a large cohort of incident patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Methods: Cognition assessment and clinical and demographic information were obtained in 101 incident ALS patients. CR was measured based on years of education, occupational attainment, amount of leisure activities, and bilingualism. Correlation and regression analyses were performed to test the association between CR and the clinical expression of ALS. Results: We found that all proxies of CR were positively associated with executive functions, verbal fluency, and memory domains. Motor impairment was inversely related to educational level and occupational attainment. Regression analysis documented the association between CR and cognitive performances in all patients and the predictive role of CR in modulating motor functional disability in patients with bulbar-onset. Conclusion: Our findings showed that CR mediates the extent of cognitive decline and that of functional bulbar impairment, suggesting that the concept of reserve applied to ALS should encompass cognitive and motor domains.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • behavior
  • bulbar onset
  • cognition
  • cognitive reserve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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